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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

The Jews celebrate Yom Kippur (day of expiation).

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 11, 15-26

But some of them said, 'It is through Beelzebul, the prince of devils, that he drives devils out.'

Others asked him, as a test, for a sign from heaven;

but, knowing what they were thinking, he said to them, 'Any kingdom which is divided against itself is heading for ruin, and house collapses against house.

So, too, with Satan: if he is divided against himself, how can his kingdom last?-since you claim that it is through Beelzebul that I drive devils out.

Now if it is through Beelzebul that I drive devils out, through whom do your own sons drive them out? They shall be your judges, then.

But if it is through the finger of God that I drive devils out, then the kingdom of God has indeed caught you unawares.

So long as a strong man fully armed guards his own home, his goods are undisturbed;

but when someone stronger than himself attacks and defeats him, the stronger man takes away all the weapons he relied on and shares out his spoil.

'Anyone who is not with me is against me; and anyone who does not gather in with me throws away.

'When an unclean spirit goes out of someone it wanders through waterless country looking for a place to rest, and not finding one it says, "I will go back to the home I came from."

But on arrival, finding it swept and tidied,

it then goes off and brings seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and set up house there, and so that person ends up worse off than before.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus has just freed a man possessed by a "deaf" demon. To hinder speech means reinforcing or in any case making loneliness harder of the one so struck. Communication through words is one of human life’s mainstays. Therefore, when this man who is freed from the demon can speak, the people’s astonishment explodes. However, the spirit of evil does not surrender. If possible, it increases its resistance and its opposition to Jesus and the Gospel. The whole existence of Jesus and of his disciples of every age is a story of opposition and struggle against evil. In this case the attempt was made to free that man from being mute, in other words, not being capable of communicating with others. How can we not think of the sad condition of so much of humanity who cannot understand each other? It is difficult for people, ethnicities, nations, and countries to communicate with one another. And this inability to communicate creates tension and conflicts that can sometimes become dramatic. The prince of evil works to widen division and strengthen hatred. The Gospel continues to invite the disciples to be attentive and watchful, to not enclose themselves in their own spaces, because the demon of incommunicability is at work so that even among the disciples divisions insinuate themselves and resignation affirms itself. The accusations and calumnies against Jesus and the disciples are not infrequent, as the Pharisees did. But Jesus exhorts us to see the fruits of his mission and, we could add, the works of love which the disciples and the Church continue to accomplish. These are the true witness of the presence of the "finger of God" in history. And Jesus is himself the "finger of God," and thus the man "stronger" than the also "strong" evil one who enters the house, he overcomes him and disarms him. This house is the heart of each one of us, it is the Christian community, where love is stronger than evil. And whoever is blind to this love, is in fact on the enemy’s side. This is why Jesus can state with intransigence: "Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters." But it is necessary to watch. The fight against evil will be with us all our life. The "unclean spirit," Jesus says, even if it has come out will seek to re-enter. And the outcome of the one who allows laziness and preoccupation for vain things to leave the heart unguarded is dramatic: "seven other spirits" enter into him and the new condition is worse than the first.

Memory of Jesus crucified